The fifth best place to live in the U.S. is Colorado Springs, based on affordability, job prospects and quality of life, says U.S. News & World Report.
Colorado Springs was the only city among the top 10 to receive a perfect score on "desirability."
Denver ranked 9.9 in that category and was named the No. 1 best city to live in. Austin, No. 2, and Seattle, No. 7, were rated 9.4 for desirability.
Colorado Springs also was given an inaugural Great American Defense Communities award by the Association of Defense Communities on Feb. 29.
That award recognizes efforts on behalf of military personnel and their families, based on community building and integration, support and collaboration, educational and employment opportunities and family support, said Dirk Draper, president and CEO of the Regional Business Alliance.
In the U.S. News & World Report rankings, Olympic City USA scored 7.4 out of 10 possible points, beating Boise, No. 6; Seattle, No. 7; Washington, D.C., No. 8; San Francisco, No. 9; and San Jose, Calif., No. 10.
The city has the third-lowest population among the 10 top metro areas, which also include Fayetteville, Ark., No. 3; and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., No. 4.
"A lot of ratings take place, and some are more serious than others," Mayor John Suthers said during a Wednesday news conference. "Last year, Colorado Springs was ranked No. 1 for singles looking for love."
Those who haven't found love by now likely don't believe that ranking, he joked.
But U.S. News & World Report has "a reputation of great credibility for its rankings," Suthers said. "We're very proud Colorado Springs was ranked the fifth-best city in America to live in. This is a very clear indication that people in the U.S. are recognizing the trajectory Colorado Springs is on."
Unemployment is at about 4 percent, the lowest sustained rate in 15 years, and the city is in the 10 best real estate markets, Suthers said.
He also cited the Air Force Academy, Colorado College and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs as filling the need for great educational institutions, while Memorial Hospital and Penrose-St. Francis Health Systems provide high-quality health care.
Indeed, in the magazine's rating system, quality of life gets 30 percent of the weight, based on availability of health care, quality of education, crime rates, resident well-being (or satisfaction) and commuter time.
The "value" index counts for 25 percent, based on how comfortably residents can live within their means, comparing median household incomes with the cost of living.
The job market gets 20 percent of the weight, split between the unemployment rate and median salary.
Desirability got 15 percent and net migration, 10 percent.
"This national honor confirms what the residents of Colorado Springs, Olympic City USA, already know - that our city is a great place to live, and that our recent growth in the economic and employment sectors point to a very promising future," Suthers sad.
"As we continue to improve our infrastructure, stimulate economic development and promote the many positive elements of our city, I am confident that we will continue to see Colorado Springs grow as an attractive place to live, work and play both nationally and internationally."
Contact Billie Stanton: 636-0371